The University of Virginia Darden School of Business and its Tayloe Murphy Center announce that this week Tom Bandy becomes the first Resilience Award winner from the statewide competition to claim the main prize—enrollment in a week-long Darden Executive Education program.
The Tayloe Murphy Resilience Award honors entrepreneurial businesses in Virginia that demonstrate sustained vitality in communities facing high unemployment, high poverty and low self-employment. The Center will accept new applications online at TayloeMurphy.org for the upcoming 2011 competition from May 2- June 30.
Bandy’s Petersburg-based software company, BandyWorks, is one of five businesses among 106 applicants to win the Resilience Award in the inaugural year.
As with other applicants, BandyWorks demonstrated a compelling story of survival, growth and an enduring commitment to its community.
“The Tayloe Murphy Resilience Award has brought exposure to our business and community. It expanded our network and gave us a boost of confidence at a critical time,” says Bandy, owner and general manager of BandyWorks. “Now it has opened the doors to one of the best business schools in the country, and I expect my time here this week will help take our company, and community, to the next level of success.”
Darden Professor Greg Fairchild is executive director of the Tayloe Murphy Center and a MacArthur grant recipient.
“Tom Bandy is a testament to the successful entrepreneurs we hoped to find and highlight in this competition,” says Fairchild. “As one of last year’s award winners, he will be building his skills to help further strengthen his business as he attends the executive education program, Leading Organizational Effectiveness, at Darden this week. Other participants will correspondingly learn much from him, as he has developed a strong firm in conditions of uncertainty. His is a perspective many can benefit from hearing.”
Valued at $7,000 - $9,100, the Darden programs open to Award winners are taught by full-time Darden faculty members, and incorporate experiential learning—gaming, simulations, and physical activities, for example—in conjunction with relevant business case studies, the cornerstones of the Darden learning experience.
Darden’s open-enrollment courses are consistently ranked as No. 1 by the Financial Times in its annual survey of executive programs, and are considered world-class in their excellence by many business leaders.
Resilience Award winners choose one, week-long open-enrollment course from a variety of business-oriented curricula.
A University of Virginia alumnus with degrees in Economics and Philosophy, Bandy, 51, grew up in the Tri-Cities area and lives there with his wife, Holly (co-owner of BandyWorks). Bandy has four children. In 1983, at age 23, Bandy founded his first successful software company called Information System Group. However, like many novice business owners, he encountered a common pitfall.
“I got too aggressive,” says Bandy. “We brought in some venture capital and expanded too fast and lost control of it.”
In 2006, he tried again, moving his consulting business out of his Colonial Heights home to Downtown Petersburg. Using web technology to increase productivity, BandyWorks today assists a variety of clients, such as the Yadkin Valley Telephone Membership Cooperative in North Carolina.
In the recovering downtown of Petersburg, the high-tech company is a valued employer with 40 total employees. Bandy is a passionate advocate for Petersburg and the region and works in an IT advisory role with Virginia State University and John Tyler Community College.
While times have not been kind to Petersburg’s economy, Bandy sees promising growth around him. Bandy is confident the Resilience Award and time at Darden will be beneficial for BandyWorks and Petersburg.
“I hope that if we came back in five years and talked about it, there would be five more companies in Petersburg that are making a huge difference,” says Bandy.
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